Armor Holdings, Inc. Announces Exclusive License Agreement for New 'Flexible Armor' Technology Will Be Applied to Body Armor and Other Personal Protective Products



    JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Armor Holdings
 (NYSE:   AH), a leading manufacturer of security products and vehicle armor
 systems serving military, law enforcement, homeland security and commercial
 markets, announced today that it has been selected as an exclusive licensee
 for a unique application of nanotechnology, currently referred to as shear
 thickening fluid (STF), that has the ability to enhance the performance of
 ballistic fabrics and protective armor products.  Developed by the University
 of Delaware's Center for Composite Materials, in partnership with the Weapons
 and Materials Research Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory,
 testing has indicated that the technology appears to allow conventional
 ballistic fabrics to increase the level and quality of protection they provide
 without compromising their weight, comfort or flexibility.
     Under active development for the past five years, STFs are special
 materials with nano-particles that exhibit properties normally associated with
 both solids and liquids, but are rarely found in the same material.  Sometimes
 referred to as "liquid armor," the material is actually a nanotechnology that
 exists in a flexible, fluid-like state under normal conditions but adopts
 seemingly rigid qualities and becomes less penetrable when impacted.  As a
 result, this special material can be applied to conventional ballistic fabrics
 or other materials used in armor applications, allowing them to remain
 flexible under normal wear, but simultaneously becoming resistant to
 penetration when impacted by a spike, knife or high velocity projectile or
 fragment.  STF treated fabrics effectively spread the energy over a larger
 area.
     Dr. Tony Russell, Chief Technology Officer for Armor Holdings, Inc., said,
 "Going back to the Middle Ages, developing armor has involved a constant
 balance between the need for protection and the need for comfort, flexibility
 and light weight.  Rarely do the words 'flexible' and 'armor' get used in the
 same sentence, but this new technology has the potential to unlock entirely
 new and better solutions that will leapfrog to the next generation of armor
 and other lifesaving equipment.  The scientists at both ARL and UDTC have done
 an outstanding job of creating the core technology and demonstrating its
 advantages.  We are proud to have been selected to assume development
 responsibility for this important technology and we look forward to rapidly
 fielding products that will help better protect those who operate in harm's
 way.  This represents an important new addition to the Armor Holdings
 portfolio of core technologies and further allows us to select and apply the
 best material for each application."
     Extensive testing conducted by UDTC and ARL has demonstrated that when
 treated with STFs, a conventional ballistic fabric can resist penetration from
 an ice pick that would otherwise easily penetrate the fabric.  However,
 further testing and applications in the field may be needed to understand
 fully the properties of STFs.  In addition, fabrics treated with STF have been
 shown to reduce "back face deformation" (an indication of blunt trauma) from
 high energy ballistic impacts.  Importantly, treating the fabric with this
 material has little or no effect on the look, feel, texture, weight or
 flexibility of the fabric.
     Armor Holdings, which will be the sole commercial provider of this
 technology in applications related to body armor vests and extremity
 protection, helmets and gloves for protective use worldwide, anticipates
 fielding the first products later this year.
     Professor Norman Wagner of the University of Delaware and Dr. Eric Wetzel
 of the Army Research Lab, commented, "This has been an extremely successful
 collaboration between ARL and UDTC and we believe this technology has the
 potential to yield new and valuable products that will provide better
 protection to those who need it.  Armor Holdings has a proven ability to take
 technologies, such as this, improve upon them and rapidly develop them into
 products that can be used in the marketplace.  Dozens of dedicated researchers
 contributed to this project over the past several years and we look forward to
 seeing the results of their work being used to help save and protect lives."
     Robert Schiller, President of Armor Holdings, Inc., said, "This is a very
 important development for Armor Holdings and underscores our leadership in the
 area of developing life safety and survivability systems for members of the
 armed forces, law enforcement and correction officers and private citizens.
 We are constantly striving to develop new and better ways to protect those who
 protect us.  In the past two years, we have fully integrated the R&D
 capabilities across our various businesses, allowing us to seamlessly adopt
 the use of technologies such as STF in a wide range of protective
 applications."
     The potential applications of STF include a wide range of products such as
 body armor, vehicle armor, helmets, gloves and bomb blankets to protect
 soldiers, law enforcement, corrections and government officials and other
 industrial safety applications.  Armor Holdings has selected Barrday Inc. as a
 partner for development and production of STF-based ballistic fabrics.
 Barrday has strong complimentary experience in weaving fabrics from high
 strength fibers as well as applying films, resins, finishes and coatings for
 both soft and hard armor applications.
 
     Background on Shear Thickening Fluid
     Under the direction of Professor Norman Wagner, the University of
 Delaware, Center for Composite Materials began investigating shear thickening
 fluids in the mid 1990s.  Beginning in 2000, UD CCM began working in
 partnership with the Army Research Lab's Materials Research, led by Dr. Eric
 Wetzel, to create a new armor material. The first promising ballistic results
 were achieved in 2002, presented publicly at the U.S. Army Science Conference
 in Orlando, FL, in 2002.  The U.S. Army recognized the significance of this
 new technology by awarding the UD/ARL research team the Siple Award as the
 best paper at the 23rd Army Research Conference in December 2002.  Work on the
 technology continued throughout 2003 and 2004, with important discoveries of
 the stab and puncture resistance of the fabric and further refinements in
 processing and fabrication.  A U.S. patent application was filed in May of
 2003.
 
     About Armor Holdings, Inc.
     Armor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:   AH) is a diversified manufacturer of branded
 products for the military, law enforcement, and personnel safety markets.
 Additional information can be found at http://www.armorholdings.com.
 
     Certain matters discussed in this press release constitute forward-looking
 statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual
 results to differ materially from those projected.   The Company may use words
 such as "anticipates," "believes," "plans," "expects," "intends," "future,"
 and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. These risks
 and uncertainties are described in the Company's filings with the Securities
 and Exchange Commission, including the Company's Registration Statement on
 Form S-3, its 2004 Form 10-K and amendments thereto and most recently filed
 Forms 8-K and 10-Q.
 
 

SOURCE Armor Holdings, Inc.

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